Pittsburgh Jews raise £150K for Christchurch Muslim communities after massacre
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Pittsburgh Jews raise £150K for Christchurch Muslim communities after massacre

Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh quick to organise fundraising effort to support victims of the terror attack on the other side of the world

Police block the road near the shooting at a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police block the road near the shooting at a mosque in Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. Multiple people were killed during shootings at two mosques full of people attending Friday prayers. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Jewish residents of Pittsburgh have raised £150,000 ($200,000) for New Zealand’s Muslim community, in a bid to repay the kindness shown by Muslims in the aftermath of the synagogue shooting in October.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh was quick to organise the fundraising this week after a man wrote a far-right manifesto before entering two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, killing 50 worshippers and wounding another 50.

The US city suffered similar faith-related terrorism last year when another man with far-right political sympathies walked into the Tree of Life synagogue and shot dead 11 Jewish worshippers, who he blamed for encouraging immigration.

The Jewish Federation, which has previously raised money for the earthquake in Nepal and forest fires in California, said this week that support for its Christchurch fundraising had come from outside Pittsburgh as well, with 3,000 donors so far.

“We set up this fundraising effort assuming that only the Pittsburgh Jewish community would be interested in giving,” a spokesman said. “We did not expect more than a few dozen people to give.”

He said the funds “will go to help the Muslim community of New Zealand to recover,” adding: “We were definitely motivated in part by the enormous support that the Pittsburgh Muslim community gave to Jewish Pittsburgh after the October attack.

“Our relationships with the Muslim community in Pittsburgh have overall been excellent, and those relationships have only gotten stronger in the wake of the synagogue attack last year.

Earlier Meryl Ainsman, who chairs the board of the Jewish Federation, said: “We are all too familiar with the devastating effect a mass shooting has on a faith community. We are filled with grief over this senseless act of hate.”

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